Former world number one Rafael Nadal revelled in his 1,000th ATP Tour match as he called out critics who doubted his longevity.
Nadal, 30, recovered from a first-set bagel to eclipse German Philipp Kohlschreiber 0-6 6-2 6-3 and reach the last 16 at the Miami Open on Sunday.
It was a milestone outing for the 14-time grand-slam champion, who recorded his 822nd ATP win as he seeks a maiden Miami Open title.
“One thousand matches is a lot of matches. Obviously that’s good news because that says I am having a long career,” Nadal.
“During a lot of years, I heard that I’m going to have a short career, so it’s something important for me.
“I remember the first match very well because it was at home in Mallorca. It was my first victory on the ATP and was a great feeling.”
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All eyes were on Nadal at the ATP 1000 event but things threatened to turn nasty for the fifth seed following a slow start.
Nadal did not hold serve in the opening set as Kohlschreiber shut out the Spanish veteran in just 25 minutes.
Having won just five of 15 points on his first serve, something needed to change for Nadal and it did as the four-time Miami Open runner-up stopped Kohlschreiber in his tracks to earn a last-16 showdown with Nicolas Mahut.
“He was doing everything good, so that’s sport, When somebody is playing the way that he was playing that first set, I lose the set because he was playing too good. That’s it,” added Nadal.
“But a match is long and the positive thing is I held the pressure well after a very tough first set. I resisted well in the first few games of the second set and then I think I played a great second and third set.”